Monday, October 12, 2015

A Chameleon, a Boy and a Quest

A Chameleon, a Boy and a Quest, J. A. Myhre

Both Mr 12 and I enjoyed this one and I suspect Ms 8 & 10 will too.  Written by a long-term medical missionary to Africa for her children, it is about Mu, a 10-year old orphaned African boy.  Going about his usual day doing the women’s work of getting water for his family, Mu is stopped by a chameleon speaking to him.  Going by the name Tita (the word for father or uncle), the chameleon tells Mu he is about to go on a quest.   By the end of the day, Mu has left his home and headed across the country.  He does not understand where he is going or why, and as they go Tita explains there is evil in the land with some people and animals serving Abbadon, the destroyer.   Mu has to learn who he can trust and whether his own character is up to the challenge.

There are subtle gospel themes throughout dealing with truth, good and evil, love, grace, sacrifice and mercy.  The story grabs your attention and interest even with only a surface reading, but the additional themes give even more depth to think and talk about.   Myhre’s writing is descriptive and evocative.  There were elements that reminded me of Patricia St John: 
Right now the cool sharpness of the morning, the loneliness of the path, and the absence of the inevitable weight all filled him with a sense of something, a premonition close to joy but tinged with a darker hue, perhaps danger. He felt the slant of the morning sunlight through the palm fronds as a deep ache of the heart, a longing for something he couldn’t begin to name.
It seems this is the beginning of a series and we look forward to future volumes.   Yet another good publication from New Growth Press, released only last week.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Two Wolves

Two Wolves, Tristan Bancks

This youth fiction is quite different to others I have come across.  I’m glad I read it to Mr 12 as it raises some interesting questions: most notably, what do you do when your parents have done something wrong?

Twelve-year-old Ben Silver’s parents rush back to their Sydney home one day, announce a snap-decision holiday and bundle him and his little sister Olive into the car.   Hours are spent driving, a police car is evaded and eventually they come to an old deserted cabin of his grandfather’s.  As Ben starts to think about what has happened it becomes clear to him that his parents are on the run.

The story took a few twists and turns I wasn’t expecting.   Ben & his sister have to survive on their own in the bush for a while and in the end both of his parents have to choose which path to take.  The title of the book is taken from a tale:
An old man tells his grandson that there is a battle raging inside him, inside all of us. A terrible battle between two wolves. One wolf is bad – pride, jealousy, greed. The other wolf is good – kindness, hope, truth. The child asks, ‘Who will win?' The grandfather answers simply, ‘The one you feed.' (on the back cover)

It is a good book to read and talk about character with your kids.